Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Mecca-Time!

The Ground Zero mosque: They all run screaming!!  Frank Rich in his op/ed tells us what this furor is really about.  Religious zealots, kind of like the gay marriage swiftboat back a couple years ago. The President even had to enter the fray, to talk about what America stands for and now - Look! - 1 in 5 of Americans now think Obama is a muslim!  He's even had to defend himself.  Obama is a Christian and prays every day.  As if that should make us feel safer?  

Personally, I think Obama's a deist at best -- but of course he has to pander to these pilgrims.  Why do they care?  Do you think the first responders at 9/11 asked their comrades, commanders, or the people they pulled from the burning towers, "which god do you pray to? 

So they want to build a mosque - or a muslim cultural center - a couple blocks from where the towers were destroyed by rogue extremist muslims.  Wouldn't it show the greatness of America, if we gave them our blessing?  If we tried to promote understanding?  Our constitution is not framed to allow for "sentimentality" to enter into property purchase, so what is all this nonsense?

Believe it or not---for all I make fun of "the religion of peace"-- not all Muslims are terrorists.  I was in The Dalles, Oregon, last week and there was a little plaque on the side of a building commemorating a Japanese man and his family who owned a successful store -- but after Pearl Harbor he and his family were stripped of their business, their homes, their belongings, and shipped off to an internment camp.  How quickly we forget. Not all Japanese are Kamikazes.

How quickly we forget the Native Americans (hunted down, obliterated, and maliciously betrayed - and they're the godless savages!)  In a brilliant move of self-reflective irony, the Navajo nation in Arizona is today vowing to deport any non-native Americans from that state.  They're only mirroring our mantra: What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine.  I traveled South America for two years straight and can't tell you how often some stranger would extol the virtues of Jesus, when we all know that if it weren't for the Spanish conquistadores slaughtering their ancestors in the name of Christendom, these same indigenous would be extoling the virtues of that log they used to worship in lake Titicaca.  Here's the real answer to religious belief: Whoever has the most gun powder wins.

We can't slam Islam without slamming all religions.  Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, so I propose we not allow a Christian church to be built within 200 miles of a preschool or government building.  The man with the most blood on his hands, that most adored and adorned holy drag queen the Pope refuses to condone the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.  I propose we prohibit the building of Catholic church 200 miles from anywhere people might engage in sex.

Religion is an ideology and I fear it.  I'm not referring to "spiritual" people or "truth seekers", but the rabid religious who justify genocide, terrorism, drink kool-aid, separate our species and quite literally, divide families.  After I pressured him to give his opinion as to my equal rights, my very own brother was haughtily dismissive.  He will not unequivocally stand beside me, his brother.  Why?  His religious "values".  As if Jesus would give a shit.

To all those tea baggers -- As if Jesus would carry a gun and vote for Sarah Palin!

Everything I do - this blog, my writing, my films, etc, is to show people like me that they are not alone.  Far too often I hear of some young gay or trans kid killing himself -- Marie Osmond's gay son, for example, who couldn't rationalize Mormon dogma with who he was - and it breaks my heart.  I am then, as always, reminded I haven't done enough.  I haven't been loud enough, none of us have.  This is why I fiercely judge people who don't muster the courage to step up, speak out and REPRESENT.

So they want to build a mosque or a muslim community center two blocks from 9/11's Ground Zero.  They have every constitutional right to do so.  Allowing this to happen proves that American values, character, and freedoms have not lost to terrorism.  By turning the other cheek, the human mammal may move one step closer to love.


Anonymous said...

Thought you might want to read commentary from the "other side" of the Mosque issue.

I think you can already guess where I stand on this one.


Casper said...

Great post Jesse!

carmel said...

I love how you are so funny and flippant in some posts, making me laugh out loud, and then in others, well, you eloquently put thoughts out there and make us, your friends and readers, think... good on ya, mate...

Tony said...

Amen, Jesse!

Last Sunday's Times reviewed "The Tenth Parallel," a book whose author explored the tensions and conflicts between Muslims and Christians (and other religions)by traveling all across that section of the globe and living with people on both sides of the religious divide. After all that, she still couldn't come up with a theory of why people fight over religion.
Disheartening to say the least.
It's all so irrational.
And as Rich points out, the allegedly patriotic political demagogues on Fox and elsewhere, who have been whipping up anti-Islamic hatred, are actually making things worse for our troops in Afghanistan, whom they claim to support. So irrational.
And Imam Rauf, the guy proposing the cultural center in lower Manhattan is a Sufi Muslim, a mystical branch of the religion which promotes peace and is persecuted for that by radical Sunnis and Shiites. Go figure.
Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, I believe it's still important to work for reconciliation.
The Center for Interfaith Reconciliation, a group I'm working with based in Richmond, VA, tries to do this by educating people about islam, working with local Muslims on community projects and developing relationships with moderate Muslims in the Middle East and Asia. We'll be heading to Oman, Egypt and Jordan in January, hoping to take folks with us who have not been exposed to the vast majority of Muslims who reject religious extremism.
Sorry this was so long, but you struck a nerve.
Good job.

Jesse Archer said...

thanks Casper, and Carm (keeping you on your toes!) Good work Tony, I wish you luck with that task. I'm more of a baby/bathwater tosser, so go on and prove me wrong!

Bob Frank said...

People cling to their religions and refute other people's religions because they have a huge stake in them. They're terrified that they could be wrong, so they won't entertain the possibility. If the other religions aren't around, then they feel safer.

People don't think beyond their emotions. Did they ever think that if there was a major Muslim holy place near ground zero that maybe it wouldn't be blown up again?

Religion does seem to keep people from thinking logically, and gay people are a perfect scapegoat. They found obscure passages in the Bible calling sodomy a sin, and so we are persecuted today. Maybe it was considered a "sin" then because it was necessary to maintain the population, so men's sperm couldn't be wasted (There are admonitions against masturbation, I believe,too).

As gay men, we need to keep the message alive for our young people that whom they love is immaterial. It's that they love that is important.

Rebekka said...

Totally agree, building this mosque shows perfectly how whatever insane image the 'islamic' fundamentalists have of the west is completely wrong. I personally also have fear of religion in general and dont see why this is still such a necessity to humans in the 21st century, why thinking for oneself is so damn scary... puzzles me. Islam is the youngest world religion and still needs to have a 'reformation' or other event that compares to the west's transformation into modernity. They would kill Christians and Jews (and their own folks!), but in New York, even after 9/11, freedom even for those choosing to live in some kind of middle age is still real. New Yorkers have to be the grownups here and allow for this house of worship to be. We cannot regress into hating on that fundamentalist level. We are above that, way way way above and beyond. Because we live today and move forward, not backwards. It would be the prefect symbol for the indestructible values of the American constitution, this ground zero mosque. We can afford to be generous in spirit.